The resilience of the Filipino people and the way that they cope with tragedies and hardships is nothing less than extraordinary sometimes. They turn something that is bleak into something that is inspiring and helps others.

One perfect example is One Closet. One Closet, a gown rental social enterprise, was launched at the Robinsons Place Butuan through a fashion show on December 17, 2017. The event was hosted by Joby Belmonte and Butuan’s radio and TV host, Jam Magno. This is the first social enterprise of this kind in the country.

One Closet was conceptualized by 14 year-old Isabela Blancas after she was struck by depression. In coping with adversity, she thought that by focusing less on her own problems and doing something good for those who have less, would help in her healing.

The concept is simple, One Closet asks for donations of pre-loved gowns and formal dresses and then rents them out to the ladies in Butuan for all kinds of formal occasion. Isabela said, “The clients will feel like royalty while wearing the gowns and in the meantime they are also doing an act of charity. Part of the profits of this social venture will help poor children in Mindanao with their educational needs.”  One of its beneficiaries is a convent in Buenavista, the Sisters Disciples of Jesus in the Eucharist, that helps young girls who were victims of abuse.

The gowns in One Closet’s collection include those from top fashion designers of the country such as Rajo Laurel, Pepito Albert, Oliver Tolentino, Cherry Veric, Veejay Floresca, Delby Bragais, Edgar San Diego, Noel Crisostomo, Kaye Morales, Charina Sarte, John Guarnes, Michele Sison, Philipp Tampus, Kat Corpus, Alodia Cecilia, Mitzi Quilendrino, Ziggy Savella and Martin Bautista which were donated by numerous generous individuals and the designers themselves from all over the country.  Kaye Tinga donated 18 of her beautiful gowns.  Models from Butuan Beauties, a local modeling agency, did a fantastic job showcasing the collection during the launch.

One Closet will soon open its gown rental shop at the former shop of the late Gregg Calo, an icon in the local Butuan fashion scene. Donations of preloved formal dresses are still encouraged. Please contact Fred Blancas at +639178632070 or frederickblancas@yahoo.com.

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